Aitutaki Member Of Parliament Teina Bishop has associated himself with a local bid that has formally expressed interest for the purchase of a majority stake in Telecom Cook Islands. Led by local businessman Brian Baudinet and involving TCI senior management and regional telecommunications firm Bluesky, Bishop said his involvement includes searching for locals willing to add to the bid by putting up $100 for a potential shareholding in TCI. “The principle is that one day, when each child holds their mobile phone, they will feel like they own the company,” he said. A trust account with the Bank of the Cook Islands was opened last Friday, and potential investors can deposit their $100 at account #82265 - S21, under account name ‘Cook Islands Share Management’. Bishop is encouraging anyone who can afford the cash outlay to get involved. Bishop said Mike Tavioni is also involved in the bid, and is looking for investors with larger sources of capital to contribute up to $1000 each. With a minimum $23 million required, it is unclear how the investment will be broken down between Bluesky and local shareholders.
Leader of the Opposition Wilkie Rasmussen said a last-minute change-of-mind prevented the Cook Islands Party from fielding a candidate in the Aitutakian constituency of Arutanga-Nikaupara-Reureu, currently held by MP Teina Bishop. “They had someone who withdrew at the last minute,” alleges Ramsussen, who said he believes the candidate had decided they had no chance against the long-serving incumbent. The Demos will be fielding former Grey Power General Secretary Teuira Ka in Arutanga-Nikaupara-Reureu. “We think we have a great chance at winning this election, and we will have a majority that will allow us to govern by ourselves.”